Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yet it isn't... go see this movie!

Christmas Day 2009 is no different than any other year in terms having lots of tantalizing new movies on offer... the cinema beckons us as does ostentatiousness beckon the Haus of Gaga.

Equally, last night me and muh fam damily couldn’t resist the appeal of going out to see It’s Complicated the new film starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. The first thing I’ll say is I love, love, LOVED this movie. It’s really terrific.

It’s a comedy and a love story with a lot of heart, not to mention an objective to show how hearts and minds work, specifically the hearts and minds of those who are divorced.

It’s Complicated is the story of Jane and Jake Adler (Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin, respectively) who have been divorced for 10 years after having been married for 19. They share two daughters and a son. Jane is single while Jake is married to Agnes, the much younger woman with whom he had an affair and for whom he left Kate.

The Adler family is brought together in New York City for Jane and Jake’s sons graduation from college. After bumping into each other in their hotel lounge, Jane and Jake get to talking, get to drinking and dancing, and - before anyone knows it - get to jumping into the sack together and embarking on an affair.

The family returns to their home town (a beautifully portrayed Santa Barbara, California) and thus begins the “complicated” path Jane and Jake find themselves on. Jake has realized he never fell out of love with his ex-wife and wants her back, while Jane is enjoying their revisit but isn’t so sure what it all means.

Meanwhile, an architect named Adam (played by Steve Martin who does well here with a fairly bland character), who is working on Jane’s home renovation project, takes a shine to her and they pursue some extra-curricular “activities” together, further complicating Jane's situation with Jake.

The performances in It’s Complicated are absolutely excellent. As always, Meryl Streep hits nothing but perfect notes as Kate.

Remember, this movie is a comedy and as Streep has proven time and time again (The Devil Wears Prada, Postcards From The Edge, Julie & Julia) she is as much a master of comedy performance as she is of serious drama (Kramer vs. Kramer, Doubt, Silkwood).

Not to mention that Meryl Streep can accurately and believably portray pretty much any accent she tries… one day I’d like to hear her do a thick Scottish brogue. I digress… Meryl Streep can do no wrong as an actor, in my eyes. And doesn’t it just seem like she’s been in about a zillion movies lately? A very prolific actor she is.

Her performance in It's Complicated as Jane Adler is the kind that is just a pure pleasure to watch. There’s nothing to prevent you from wanting to climb inside Jane’s life and experience it with her – the second guessing of the end of her marriage, the joy she derives from her post-divorce entrepreneurial success, the devotion to her kids, the authentic laughing fits among she and her gal pals… it’s all good because Meryl Streep is just such a natural performer and truly a pleasure to watch on the screen.

Alec Baldwin is also very fun in his role. Although his character Jake is a self-centred adulterer, he’s also an open book and totally willing to show his own genuine surprise, an authentic caught-off-guard quality about wanting his ex-wife back. Jake is flirtatious, mischievous and charming.

And together, dare I say it, Baldwin and Streep are sexy. It’s not often in Hollywood a woman who has just turned 60 is given a role where she can be as sexy as all get out, but like everything, Streep pulls it off without flaw.

All in all, I really loved It’s Complicated. I must admit, it was an interesting feeling to watch this movie – about a divorced woman and mother of three – with two of my siblings and our mother because our family too is the “product” of my parents divorce when us kids were very young. It was not at all uncomfortable for me to see this particular story play out on the movie screen. Mayhaps it just goes to show how easy it is for anyone to relate to and enjoy It’s Complicated. The movie is just plain great storytelling.

And on a related note, the movie made me recall how beautiful some parts of California are - such as Santa Barbara where this film’s story is situated. Kinda makes me wanna go back for a loooooong visit :)

The sole unfortunate quality of it though is that it shares the name of that horrible Denise Richards’ reality tv show “It’s Complicated” which inexplicably found a home on E! for two seasons. Thankfully it’s no longer airing here in the Great White North.

Last thing I wanna say about It's Complicated (the *film*) is that while I was watching it my mind occasionally flashed to another film, Something’s Gotta Give, because I kept noticing strong reminders of the storyline from that film – another one which I love and have seen several times.

Turns out that familiarity occurred for a reason which somehow escaped me in the marketing of It’s Complicated… it’s written and directed by Nancy Myers (also 60 years old) who not only is responsible for Something's Gotta Give (2003) but also other great films about likeable women and their relationships such as Private Benjamin (1980) and Baby Boom (1987).

It’s Complicated is actually very simple after all, simple to enjoy and simple to recommend as a must-see for this holiday season and beyond.

Here's the trailer to whet your appetite:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cardiac arrest is cause of death

A shock this morning as reports circulate of the death of actress Brittany Murphy, 32. TMZ has the still developing story of Murphy's early morning death today:

Brittany Murphy died early this morning after she went into full cardiac arrest and could not be revived, multiple sources tell TMZ. She was 32. A 911 call was made at 8:00 AM from a home in Los Angeles that is listed as belonging to her husband, Simon Monjack, the Los Angeles City Fire Department tells TMZ. We're told Murphy was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Murphy starred in such films as "Clueless," "8 Mile," and "Don't Say a Word." (tmz)
This is just really sad news today, and it certainly reinforces 2009 in my mind as a particularly notable year for entertainers who have lost their lives.

First time I saw Brittany Murphy was in the 90s classic "Clueless", but my favourite role she played was Alex in 8 Mile.

Aside from acting though, I friggin' LOVED "Faster Kill Pussycat", the club single she released a few years ago (2006, I think?) with Paul Oakenfold. Damn we used to rawk out to this one on the dancefloor... good times :)

This video clip of the song features clips from one of my all-time fave cult-films "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" directed by the great Russ Meyers.

Thank you Brittany for leaving behind something everyone can enjoy forever!

My heart goes out to her family and friends and loved ones... may Brittany Murphy be in peace.

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